Jacob, a student involved in his second Leaders In Action (LIA) year, has been chosen as our Student Spotlight for the month of October. He became involved in the program when another LIA student recruited him to attend one of our weekend volunteer opportunities at Willow Tree Manor Nursing Home. Jacob quickly realized he was interested in the program as it is centered around health and community involvement.

Jacob’s favorite part of the program is our summer camp that we offer at the Outdoor Education Center (OEC), as well as any additional weekend programs we host at the OEC. While at camp this past summer, Jacob enjoyed himself because “most activities are outside and include physical activity, the counselors were hilarious, the night activities brought us all together, and we got to tough it up when it’s raining which we never get to do at school or at other camps!” He also stated how he “loved exploring the wilderness at the OEC and working with plants.”

Jacob this Summer at the OEC during Survival Camp.

As Jacob has remained involved in LIA, he has been noticing an improvement in his ability to make new friends, more thoroughly understanding of teamwork and leadership skills, and boosting his confidence levels. He also feels like he has thoroughly mastered the five survival skills by learning and implementing them during our five-day summer camp and testing them out when he returned home!

While asked what he is most excited for this year, Jacob stated “I’m definitely most excited to attend Alternative Spring Break, especially if it’s in Washington D.C. After a while you get used to the daily routine of school but then when you have a break you get so bored. It will be nice to see a new place with my friends!”

Jacob visiting the Young Harvest Local Farm.

I asked Jacob if he had any last comments about our weekly Leaders In Action meetings and he stated, “You guys aren’t boring teachers. You actually make things fun.” Jacob is thrilled for this upcoming LIA year and for the engaging curriculum we will continue to provide.

This year our LIA program is actively involved with the seven dimensions of health: physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, intellectual, and occupational. Students will have many opportunities to participate in community events, visit organizations on field trips, and host local guest speakers. To kick off the 2013-2014 LIA year, students have already gardened at the OEC, hosted a barefoot running clinic, volunteered at Freedom’s Run, and welcomed a physical therapist to conduct physical fitness tests during our meetings. For more information visit: http://flocoutdoors.org/youth/leaders-action.

(Sarah Nowicki is an AmeriCorps Vista at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center).

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